Cybersecurity experts are warning of a “Cyber Pearl Harbor” as North Korea makes preparations for an anticipated offensive in the South.
A group of South Korean government officials, cybersecurity experts and analysts warned Wednesday that the North Korean regime could launch a massive cyberattack against South Korea or its allies to punish Seoul or other South Korean entities for its nuclear and missile programs.
A day earlier, the South’s National Intelligence Service reported that North Korea had developed cyber capabilities that could potentially allow it to conduct “mass-scale cyber attacks on South Korea.”
South Korea has taken a tougher line with Pyongyang than its counterparts in China, Russia and Japan.
North Korea’s foreign minister has also said that Seoul is prepared to wage war on the North in a bid to pressure it into giving up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and end its nuclear program.
The North’s new cyberattack strategy comes after Pyongyang’s top cyber expert warned last month that Pyongyang is “moving rapidly to develop its cyber capabilities” and would “provide unprecedented support” to a new cyber offensive on South Korean soil.
The cyberattack would “prevent South Korea from responding to an attack and stop the South Korean military from responding with its full force,” Kim Jong Un’s official Korean Central News Agency said.
North Korea, which is technically at war with the United States, is also known for its “black” programs, including a “dirty war” against South Korean citizens that the U.S. government blames on the country’s rogue elements.
The U.N. Security Council has imposed a series of sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear development.
“The North Korean threat has intensified and is moving quickly to develop cyber capabilities,” the North’s deputy foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, told reporters Wednesday.
“The South Korean side has the right to prepare for any situation, whether it is a cyber attack, a nuclear attack or a military operation.”
Experts have warned that North Korean cyber attacks could take place in South Korean airspace, with the U-2 spy plane being shot down by North Korean-made surface-to-air missiles.
The United States has also been targeted by cyberattacks in recent years.
In 2012, North Korea launched a devastating cyberattack that affected U.K. and European networks.
That attack, which North Korea blamed on a hacker group, took out computer systems at the U and British ministries.
A cyberattack on North Korea in the mid-2000s also targeted the U, U. S. and German ministries.
In 2008, a U. N. sanctions committee issued a report saying North Korea was capable of developing cyber capabilities comparable to those of the United Kingdom, the U